Suzi's Blog

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel or Dolce de Leche


Good food is edible. Great food is edible art. Such is the story of this cookie which could double as a gem in Madison Avenue storefront. If you have a sweet tooth, if you love coconut, then this cookie is for you. Small coconut balls are given a thumbprint impression, then baked. The indent is filled with one of two things: salted caramel [the original recipe] or dolce de leche [Suzen’s favorite].

To make dolce de leche, you can simple cook a can of sweetened condensed milk cover in water in a saucepan. When, as Suzen does, you are making dolce de leche for 50 people, all burners are active. Our kitchen becomes a production line.

This cookie is quite versatile. For dessert on a warm summer weekend night, when the barbeque dishes are not yet digested and you just want a tiny touch of dessert, then this cookie is perfect. It will cleanse away all traces of chicken, steak, onions and potato salad. A glass of sparkling wine is not mandatory but suggested.

If you want elegance, say for a fall or winter holiday feast, then a plate of these cookies — centered on the table and reflecting candle light in that dolce de leche — is understated sophistication. This year round cookie is one you will simply never tire of. Trust me. I’ve had a few dozen in the past year and my addiction is only intensifying.

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel or Dolce de Leche

Yield: ~ 50 cookies


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 ounces), such as Kraft
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Large, flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • Or, in lieu of the caramels, cream and Maldon, 1 ½ cups of dolce de leche


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and ½ teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap, then roll into 1 ¼-inch balls. Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. Bake cookies until golden, 9 to 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

If making a caramel filling instead of using dolce de leche, place the caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled.

Source: Martha Steward Living, February 2012

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/6 for 1/40th second at ISO-3200

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